Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 18th April 2018

The popularity of zero-emission cars is ever increasing, with the demand for the electric vehicle (EV) reaching record highs in the UK over the last few years.

Plug-in hybrids have started to take the lion’s share of the overall electric car market, currently taking up around two thirds of it. Not to mention that over 47,000 EVs were registered by the end of last year – according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

With this dramatic market growth, a number of pure electric and plug-in hybrids have now emerged as the most popular EV choices amongst many consumers. We’re taking a quick look at the current top 5 in the UK…

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

In 2013, the Japanese manufacturer launched their Outlander PHEV – a petrol-electric hybrid that was based on the diesel version of the Outlander.

Later that year sales started throughout Europe – with shipments reaching the UK in 2014. Since then the SUV has gradually become a hugely popular plug-in vehicle, and Europe’s best-selling electric car since 2015.

It has managed to shift well over 100,000 copies to date, something that only a handful of hybrids have ever achieved. According to the Department for Transport, More than 30,000 units have so far been sold in the UK alone, further cementing its impressive best seller status.

The manufacturer has announced a brand new Outlander PHEV will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show this year, with an improved engine and upgraded electric powertrains.

Nissan LEAF

The Mitsubishi may have become the best seller in the UK, knocking the Nissan LEAF, which first emerged in UK dealerships in 2011, off the top spot. However, the LEAF still remains the most popular pure-electric car.

The five-door electric hatchback has managed to make history by selling over 300,000 units globally since 2010, with 20,000 of them being sold in the UK so far.

Being an all-electric vehicle, the Nissan LEAF gives off zero greenhouse gas emissions when driven, and has received recognition over the years, including getting the Green Car Vision Award, and being named European Car of the Year in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

The new British-built 2018 model has already been awarded the Best Electric Car, at the 40th anniversary of the WhatCar? Awards.

Mercedes-Benz C 350e

Mercedes-Benz introduced their own plug-in hybrid, the C 350e, at the North American International Auto Show, in 2015.

Since then the Saloon, which sports a four-cylinder petrol engine combined with a powerful electric motor, has seen its sales climb fairly rapidly over the last couple of years – reaching close to 9,000 total units sold in the UK.

BMW i3

The BMW i3 was the German automobile company’s first zero emissions, mass-produced vehicle – that launched through their sub-brand at the country’s International Motor Show in 2011.

They launched a prototype of the electric car at the London 2012 Olympics, with a production version getting introduced in July the following year. Global sales surpassed 24,000 units in 2015, and have now climbed beyond 65,000 units as of 2016 – making the BMW i3 the third best selling all-electric car in the world.

BMW 330e

Another BMW currently holds the 5th spot of most popular electric cars in the UK – the BMW 330e hybrid. The executive saloon came along in 2015 and combined a 184bhp 2 litre petrol engine, with 87bhp electric motor.

It’s proven not quite as successful as the i3 model, but the 330e has managed to quickly climb the best seller charts over the last two years. It has gained significant traction amongst company car drivers, due to the car managing to combine many great attributes from the revered 3 Series.    

By Tokumeigakarinoaoshima [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Classic Car Insurance»